Yushchenko takes reins

Viktor Yushchenko took the oath of office as Ukraine’s new president, ending a bruising election marathon last weekend. At the inauguration ceremony, Yushchenko said he would defend the unity of Ukraine and stood hand on heart as the national anthem was played. The president told the massive crowd: “Our way to the future is the way of a united Europe. We are not on the outskirts of Europe, we are at the centre.” The ceremony was watched by eight heads of state. Russia, which had backed opposition leader Yanukovych, was represented only by the head of the upper house of its parliament, Sergei Mironov.